Zombies vs. Vampires: Celebs of the supernatural speak


The undead vs. the walking dead: We spoke to celebrities who have built a career around the supernatural about this undying debate ...

John Carpenter, photo by
Thomas Peter Schulz

"They're both great. Vampires go way back to when I was a little kid. And back even more to my parent's generation - and back even before them. The zombies are a little more recent. One of my favorite directors and close friends is George Romero and I think he transformed the horror genre with Night of the Living Dead. And it's everywhere today. Everywhere. That movie has influenced everything here, all movies that are made. It's unbelievable – and ripped off and ripped off, again and again and again."

"Well, I'm kind of partial to some of the Hammer vampire films. Because I saw those when I was a teenager at the drive-in movie. So they were all wrapped up in my memory with making out in the back seat with a surfer girl, trying to get to third base and looking through the windshield and watching Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing bite Barbara [Shelley]’s neck and the blood would run down in her cleavage. That's all a very hormonally confused memory for me! But right now, as we speak, right now I think that my two favorite vampire films are the Klaus Kinski Nosferatu [Nosferatu the Vampyre] and also, the Swedish film, Let the Right One In … My favorite zombie film is I Walked With A Zombie and Romero's Dawn of the Dead. The one in the mall, right? I love that. I love the original and the remake. I love both."

Mistress of the Dark; Host, Elvira’s Movie Macabre

"Of course, I have a soft spot in my heart for vampires, because they are dark and sexy like myself. But lately zombies are taking over, man. I love zombies. My premiere show [for new Macabre episodes] was Night of the Living Dead and I haven't seen it in so many years but I think I've seen it 10 times in the last three weeks. I realize how much I love it, and how good zombies are. There's been so many great zombie films out recently. Zombies are kind of taking over for me right at the moment."

Director, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Martin

"I’m not particularly fascinated about zombies. I sort of backed into it. I didn’t even call them zombies in the first film; I called them flesh eaters. I just wanted some sort of game changing event that my human characters could ignore in favor of petty bickering … My favorite film of mine is a film called Martin. It’s not quite a spoof, but it started as a spoof, and during the course of making the film I started to take it a little more seriously. But it’s my sort of vampire spin."


Makeup artist, director, actor
(Dawn of the Dead (1978, 2004), Night of the Living Dead (1990),  From Dusk Till Dawn, Machete)

"I had stayed away from the Twilight Saga. 'Amber-eyed, sparkly, homosexual vampires' was the catchphrase people were handing me. I had never seen it so I didn't know what it was about, but I watched Vampires Suck, which was a parody of those movies and that made me want to see a better version of it. I started watching Twilight and I really liked it. I really like the treatment; I realize it caters to teenage hormones, but I really liked it. I've seen all three of them now. Zombies: Romero's original Night of the Living Dead of course, but I thought the best zombies were what we did together in Day of the Dead. That's Romero's favorite Dead movie and mine too ... But what [friend and fellow makeup guru] Greg Nicotero has been doing with The Walking Dead [the show based on Robert Kirkman's comic book, premiering on AMC on Oct. 31], these are the best zombies I've ever seen. So vampires or zombies? To me they're such a huge gap between them. It's like, is it Edward or Jacob from Twilight? Vampires can be elegant and sophisticated, beautiful ... but zombies are ugly, dead people that are continuing to be dead and rot, and not become superhuman like in the remake of Dawn. It's a huge gap, but I think I prefer the elegant, witty, gorgeous vampire."

Paranormal investigator, Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures

"Vampires … they're darker. Zombies have just been infected by some kind of virus. Vampires can do things that zombies can't do. Zombies are just slow kind of slow walking, and just people that moan and groan and just look ugly. Female vampires are sexy as hell. They're just cool, man. They're awesome. They suck blood and make it look cool. They’re attractive, powerful, immortal, you know. Vampires are immortal.  Freakin’ zombies you can kill with a freakin spitball, and they’re infected, sick, ill. Vampires are not. And vampires are creatures of the night. And I'm a creature of the night. That's why they're cool."

Great Grandnephew of Bram Stoker Author, Dracula The Un-Dead

"Vampires … I do like the Coppola movie [Bram Stoker’s Dracula] but I also really like the 1931 Todd Browning original  - just because it's the first one … I can't speak with any quality or any conviction on zombies. I just don't do those."

Author, Goosebumps series

"I have to say, I’m not a zombie fan at all. I’ve never written a real zombie book. I would love to see zombies go away because zombies are so limited. As a writer, there’s so little you can do with zombies. I like surprises and twists, and fooling a reader, but you can’t fool anyone into thinking a zombies isn’t a zombie. What can they do? They stagger."

Danny Trejo
Actor, Machete, Halloween (2007), From Dusk Till Dawn

"I love them all ... [my favorite vampire movie is] From Dusk Till Dawn … Zombies? Anything that Rob Zombie does!"